Linux Expo coverage
Linux Weekly News
Thursday at Linux ExpoBob Young's keynote was given to a mostly-empty hall. Maybe that's what happens when you schedule a keynote at noon. In general, while the snack service is great, the opportunities to get real meals here are limited. There are a lot of hungry people wandering around.
Anyway, Bob's keynote was pretty standard fare for those who have read interviews or articles about him, or who have seen him talk before. Cars with hoods welded shut, if you compete with a monopoly you have to change the rules, and so on. He talked about LinuxWorld having been in San Diego, then attributed the mistake to the aftereffects of the Red Hat party there - a memory lapse problem.
Tim O'Reilly gave a standing room only presentation on how to build open source businesses. There was a lot of good, common-sense advice. The real killer applications of the future are not things like more spreadsheets; instead, people are buying computers to get access to things like Amazon and eBay. He sees free software as being an ideal building block for that sort of "application."
To that end, he called for more electronic commerce tools to be written in a free software mode. He also stressed the importance of XML as "the ASCII of the future," and admonished developers to look at the "post-PC era." Thus, free software applications should run on things like Palm Pilots and Playstations.
Werner Almesberger gave a strongly technical presentation on the network traffic control capabilities built into the 2.2 kernel. The various filtering, queuing, and prioritization mechanisms that 2.2 provide have seen relatively little attention and use, partly because the documentation for them is almost nonexistent. That will certainly change as people catch on to the power of what is available, though.
The kernel can now prioritize traffic based on any of a number of criteria, including protocol, source and destination addresses or ports, or on anything else that can be found in the packet. Different queues can have different ways of dropping packets. Thus, for example, voice applications can be given a very high priority so that packets are delivered in a timely manner, but, if things get tight, the voice packets might be the first ones you drop. Voice, after all, can take an occasional drop, and late packets do little god. FTP, instead, doesn't much care about transmission time, but would like reliability and bandwidth.
The talk lost a lot of the audience as Werner got into the "differentiated services" capabilities that will soon show up in 2.3. But even without that, the information presented here was most useful. The slides for the talk can be found at ftp://lrcftp.epfl.ch/pub/people/almesber/slides/.
The "best booth giveaway" award has to go to the folks at Watchguard, who installed a tap and were handing out full glasses of beer to all who wandered by. Not only is it immediatly enjoyable, but it doesn't take up any room in the suitcase afterwards...
LinuxCare's swag includes a poster which, in a parody of the 3Com ad, shows, from the rear, a seated lady wearing only a red bra and holding a Red Hat 6.0 box behind her back. The caption is "simply supported." The word on the floor is that Red Hat's lawyers called LinuxCare's lawyers demanding that the poster be pulled from the floor. So people are grabbing them in multiples and giving them to their friends. It's sure to be a collector's items; look for one to show up on eBay shortly. (Thanks to Marc Merlin for the picture).
I also saw a demo of Digital Creations' new Zope-based "portal toolkit." That is one slick system, chances are you'll start seeing sites based on this stuff popping up before too long. There is a whole set of facilities for discussions and such, while allowing the site owner to control just how much access each user is given. The new WebDAV and FTP modes make it much easier to edit Zope content - no longer are users restricted to using a browser window. Overall a very nice package. It's in an alpha testing mode now, with a general release to happen in early June.
Digital Creations also had the first Zope 2.0 release, which adds a lot of new capabilities, and a number of long-awaited scalability features.
The SourceXchange BOF was well attended, with Brian Behlendorf presenting pretty much the same information which can be found on their site. They are trying to create a mechanism by which developers and companies are brought together; businesses post RFP's describing their software needs, developers respond with proposals, and, if all goes well, the work gets done, the developer gets paid, and the resulting software is released under an open source license.
HP's Wayne Caccamo explained that, when HP started getting into open source, they really did not know how to proceed. How does a company go about getting a change made to the Linux kernel, to Apache, or to whatever? SourceXchange aims to make it easier for businesses to get into this realm.
Some concerns were raised about the SourceXchange site turning into a source of recruitment spam. Hopes are that this will not happen...
Overall it has been an interesting first day - and now I get to go back for the BOF sessions. But first I have to somehow find something to eat...
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